Tips and Tricks
What’s the secret to an extra melty grilled cheese? My secret trick is to sear the sandwich after it’s cooked.Once the sandwich is done, cut it in half diagonally and sear those cut edges for five to 15 seconds, just to melt the inside a little extra. Remove from the heat and immediately press the two halves together and allow to cool enough to eat. This will give you a great cheese pull!
What can you serve with grilled cheese? Grilled cheese is definitely enough of a meal to be served by itself. However, it also goes great with salads and soup like Creamy Tomato Bisque. Tomato soup and grilled cheese is a classic comfort combination. This three cheese grilled cheese and scratch made tomato bisque really elevates this childhood favorite to an adult meal. Another great idea is to have a grilled cheese sandwich with some roasted vegetables on the side like Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze or Oven Roasted Broccoli.
How many grilled cheeses can you make at once? This absolutely depends on your pan. Most pans allow for one to be made at a time because you want to cook them in a single layer. However, if you have a large flat top and can comfortably fit multiples, go for it!
What’s the best pan to cook grilled cheese in? I prefer a 10 inch cast iron because I like how it retains the heat and it is also usually the pan already on my stove. However, you can absolutely cook grilled cheeses in a variety of pans like stainless steel or nonstick. The pan just needs to be able to fit the pieces of bread in one layer to get an edge to edge browning.
What’s the best cheese combination to use for grilled cheese? Having more than one type of cheese will boost your grilled cheese beyond the nostalgic flavors of American cheese. Two cheeses should be flavorful cheeses like sharp cheddar and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Both of these have a lot of flavor but don’t melt as well as younger more mild cheeses. Other options for flavorful cheeses are aged gouda, smoked gouda, pecorino romano, asiago, provolone or other sharper aged cheeses. If you’re looking for a substitute for fontina you can use low moisture mozzarella, swiss, monterey jack or pepper jack. These cheeses have mild flavor and melt well.
What’s the best bread to use for grilled cheese? The best bread depends on your preference. I like a softer end product so therefore I prefer a softer bakery style white bread. Other great options are crustier sourdough, pumpernickel, rye or a whole wheat bread. An ideal bread will have a firmer crumb and not be too airy like ciabatta or focaccia.
What’s the best toppings for grilled cheese? Some great topping ideas are deli ham, already cooked bacon, fresh summer tomato, roasted garlic or fresh spinach. When choosing toppings, ensure they are already cooked as they will only get warmed through as the cheese melts. Do not overfill the sandwich or the inside will not melt/heat through quickly enough.
How do you make three cheese grilled cheese? Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Next, shred your three cheeses and mix together in a bowl and set aside. After that is done, cut the butter into six even pieces and set aside. Once your skillet is preheated, turn it down to medium low heat. Add one piece of butter to the skillet and swirl it around until melted. Next, add one piece of bread into the foaming butter and add half of the cheese mixture onto the bread. Top with another piece of bread. If available, weigh down with a foiled wrapped brick and cook for two to three minutes or until toasted. Remove the brick and sandwich from the skillet and add a second piece of butter into the pan. Let the butter melt before adding the sandwich back on the untoasted side down. Cook for another two minutes or until toasted. After the grilled cheese is your desired color, remove the sandwich. Place the sandwich on a cutting board and cut diagonally. Add in a third piece of butter into the pan and place the two halves of the sandwich, cut side down, into the pan to sear. Leave it there for 5-15 seconds until a light crust forms and the inside is melty. Immediately, press the two halves together and allow to cool enough to eat. Repeat with the rest of the bread, cheese and butter to make another sandwich.
How do you know when to flip your grilled cheese? Flip your grilled cheese after about two or three minutes on the first side. Your cheese should have started to melt and one piece of bread will be toasted. If it isn’t toasted to your liking, let it cook for another one to two minutes and flip. You will learn with practice when to flip it. If you flip it too soon, simply put it back on the side you want to brown more and wait.
How do you avoid burning your grilled cheese? To avoid burning your grilled cheese, you need to start with a correctly heated pan. To check how hot my pan is, I add in a piece of butter; if it foams nicely and melts without smoking, browning or burning, it’s the right temperature. If it browns immediately, it’s way too hot, lower the temperature and wipe out the burnt butter. Try again in a few minutes. You also need to keep an eye on your grilled cheese when cooking it. A lot of people will walk away instead of waiting for it to brown and that’s when it’ll burn.
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- Three Cheese Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Italian Meatball Sub Sandwiches
- Leftover Pulled Pork Cuban Sandwich
Three Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
- ⅓ cup fontina cheese freshly shredded
- ⅓ cup sharp cheddar freshly shredded
- ⅓ cup parmigiano reggiano freshly shredded
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 slices farm style bread
- Preheat a 8-10 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. While waiting for the skillet to preheat, shred cheeses and mix together in a bowl. Cut the butter into 6 even pieces and set aside.
- Once your skillet is preheated, turn the heat down to medium low.
- Add 1 piece of butter to the skillet and swirl it around, the butter should be foaming and melt completely. Make sure butter is not browning or burnt, that means your pan is too hot, if that happens wipe it out and start again.
- Add 1 piece of bread into the foaming butter and add ½ of the cheese mixture onto the bread. Top with another piece of bread. If available, weigh down with a foiled wrapped brick or other press and cook for 2-3 minutes or until toasted to your liking.
- Remove the brick and sandwich from the skillet and add a second piece of butter into the pan.
- After the butter has melted, add the sandwich, untoasted side down and cook for another 2 minutes.
- After the grilled cheese is your desired color, remove the sandwich. Place the sandwich on a cutting board and cut diagonally.
- Add in a third piece of butter into the pan and place the two halves of the sandwich, cut side down, into the pan to sear. Leave it there for 5-15 seconds until a light crust forms and the inside is melty.
- Immediately press the 2 halves together and allow to cool enough to eat.
- Repeat with the rest of the bread, cheese and butter.
Notes and Accommodations
- Use whatever bread you prefer from a soft farm style white bread from the bakery to a more hearty sourdough.
- Use a variety of combinations of cheeses but make sure at least 1 is a good melting cheese like fontina.
- When choosing toppings to add to grilled cheese make sure they are already cooked (like bacon or caramelized onions) because they won’t cook in the grilled cheese, only get warmed up.
- I use rough estimates on how much cheese goes into each sandwich. ½ cup per sandwich is a good starting point.
- Using shredded cheese allows the cheese to melt faster and to incorporate multiple flavors more easily.
- If you don’t have a brick wrapped in foil you can use a smaller cast iron pan or even a can of soup to weigh it down.
Originally published March 13, 2019. Republished with new photos and clarity on October 13, 2020.